Deciding on a podcast format is one of the first things you'll have to do when starting a podcast for your business. Once you've decided on your topic - one that resonates with your target audience, that you're passionate about, and that stands out from the competition - then the next step is picking how you present it - AKA, the format.
The best podcast format for your show depends on several factors, including your topic, your budget, how you like to work, and - perhaps most importantly - your business objectives.
The format you choose should remain the same in every episode, as the consistency and familiarity is what will keep listeners coming back. Sticking to a single format will make your life a lot easier too, as it's easier to plan ahead when you know how you'll format each episode.
In this guide we'll help you get to grips with the relationship between business objectives and podcasting formats, and then share five podcast formats for you to choose from.
The podcast format you choose to go with should align with your business objectives. Do you want to showcase your company's creativity? Shine a light on your knowledge and expertise? Give your audience the chance to get to know you personally? Reach a new audience?
Choose a format that helps you work towards your main goal. Keep reading to discover the five main podcast formats that work for businesses, and the business objectives they're best suited to.
Solo podcasts are the most simple to set up, because they feature just one host, and no guests. They can be informative or entertaining, scripted or unscripted, and the best thing about this type of podcast is that it helps your audience really get to know you as an individual.
That said, this isn't necessarily the best pick for businesses, as unless you're already an established thought leader in your industry, it can be challenging to get your audience to trust in your credibility and authority. What's more, it can be harder to hold listeners' attention when there's only one voice throughout.
On a co-hosted podcast, two (or more) hosts either discuss a certain topic or interview a guest together. The most important aspect of this podcasting format is the chemistry between the hosts - this is what will keep listeners coming back for more. Often each host will take on a slightly different role - one who shares news or theories, and another who provides commentary, anecdotes, questions, or jokes!
While the downside of co-hosting is the need to stay on the same page and work through any disagreements and conflicts, the benefits far outweigh this. Not only is the workload shared, but a co-hosted podcast brings different perspectives and insights to the show, providing the audience with engaging content and helping them to get to know your business and your team.
In a 1:1 interview podcast, a host interviews a different guest in each episode. Interview podcasts typically center around a core theme, with each guest bringing their own unique expertise and experience for a fresh perspective each show. The job of the podcast host is to ask interesting questions and guide the conversation.
Read more: How to conduct a podcast interview
Booking guests and juggling different schedules can be tricky and time-consuming, but inviting guests on to your show helps to add credibility to your podcast and make each episode different and interesting.The added benefit is that your guests will usually promote your show on their own social channels and with their own audience, helping you to grow your listener base.
A panel podcast is similar to an interview podcast, but with more guests. This is great for bringing extra personality, adding extra perspectives, and sparking interesting debates, providing your audience with engaging, entertaining, and useful content. It also means you'll reach an even wider audience. To ensure everyone has enough speaking time, these are usually long-format podcasts.
The main drawback of the panel podcast format, however, is how much time and effort it takes to organize each episode. Finding a date and time that works for each guest can be challenging, keeping the show on track during the recording requires refined moderation skills, and post-producing a show with multiple audio sources can be tricky.
Narrative podcasts are story-driven shows - usually telling the stories of people, businesses, or brands. Each episode follows a story arc and usually features scripted narration (by the host), interview clips, and other recordings along with music and sound effects to add to the storytelling.
The result is a highly produced, entertaining, and engaging show that hooks your listeners and demonstrates your creativity. As such, it's one of the best podcast formats for creative industries.
Because it requires multiple interviews, heavy editing, and the addition of music and sound effects, this type of podcast is typically the most time-consuming. But if you have the time - or the budget to work with an agency or freelancer - then it's certainly rewarding and worthwhile!
Now you know your options, it's time to make your decision! The best podcast format for your business will ultimately depend on your podcast topic, your budget, your personal preferences, and your business objectives.
If your goal is to build your personal brand and your relationship with your listeners, then a co-hosted podcast is a great way to go. If reaching a new audience is high on the priority list, then starting an interview or panel podcast will help you on your quest. And if you want to showcase your company's creativity, then a narrative-style podcast will do just that!
For more tips to help you on your podcasting journey, take a look at all the beginner's podcast equipment you might need to get started. Or discover the best podcast recording and editing software for a professional-sounding podcast every time.
Written By Katie Garrett